Perinatal anxiety and depression

Perinatal anxiety and depression can begin during pregnancy, immediately after birth, or in the weeks or months after childbirth.

Perinatal anxiety and depressionk.

Postnatal refers to the period after childbirth.
Perinatal refers to the period during pregnancy and the year following birth.
Antenatal refers to the period during the pregnancy.
It is normal to experience changes in emotions when becoming a parent, however, some people develop stronger feelings of anxiety or depression which affect their daily life and how they interact with others and their baby.

Perinatal depression and anxiety is a diagnosable condition and needs to be considered:
• If you are experiencing strong emotions which are impacting negatively on your ability to function in your usual way
• If you are experiencing low mood lasting for two weeks or more
• This is accompanied by a lack of enjoyment or pleasure in life, or feeling ‘numb’

Perinatal depression and anxiety affects almost 100,000 expectant and new parents in Australia each year. It is a recognised and diagnosable medical condition, and is the result of biological, psychological and social factors. Parents benefit greatly from seeking professional help and are able to recover with good support.

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a particular set of reactions triggered in people who have been through a traumatic or life-threatening event.

Sometimes it is triggered by stressful events surrounding the period before, during or after the birth of your baby. In others, symptoms of PTSD may have been present prior to your baby being born, however all the emotion of becoming a parent may have triggered an increased level of distress.
Most of the emotional challenges faced by new parents can be resolved or alleviated with the right care, information and support. Remember that help is always available and getting the right support early on can get you on the road to recovery more quickly.
If you have an existing mental health concern, it is important to proactively manage it even before conception, but especially during pregnancy and in the first months and years after your baby is born.

This includes speaking to your GP, psychologist or psychiatrist about your pregnancy plans and exploring what aspects you will need to monitor or adjust. Together, you may decide to update your support plan, monitor your medication and identify a plan of practical action if you become unwell during this time.

If you have new emotional challenges or mental health concerns, you can:
• Confide in your partner, trusted friend or family member
• Let your GP or other trusted health professional know what you’re experiencing and how you are feeling
• Talk to other parents who may be feeling similar emotions

It is very important to take action to connect with support if your mental health feels like it is deteriorating - it’s one of the first great steps you can take as a new parent.

All the usual advice for optimising wellbeing applies, but usually it has a twist for new parents:

• Getting adequate sleep and rest – this may be a challenge with a new baby, so talk together to figure out how you will approach it. If mum is getting up to feed the baby every night, you might agree that dad will take care of the older kids. Maybe you will organise that you will each help each other to have a few hours uninterrupted ‘catch-up’ sleep each weekend, or occasionally stay at a friend or relative’s house for a night to get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.

• Seek support – pregnancy and parenting can be both joyous and challenging in equal parts. Talking to friends and family about how you are finding it – both the good and bad – can turn up support where you least expect it. On the same note, a local or online parents group can help you develop support among people whose children are a similar age or live in your area.

• Choose healthy foods – eating well is always important for emotional health, but it is vital for new mums who are breastfeeding, and for both parents who are having less sleep than they would like. For the same reason, alcohol and too much caffeine are likely to increase emotional issues rather than fix them.

• Getting regular physical exercise – there is growing evidence about the very strong link between being active and good mental health, and it is especially useful for stress reduction. For this reason, when you are pregnant or have a baby, it is wise to still factor this in every day. It can be as simple as taking a walk outside with the pram, or leaving the baby with a trusted caregiver while you play a team sport.


The Mental Health checklist below is for expecting and new mums and dads to see if what you’re experiencing or observing could be a reason to seek help:

PANDA Mental Health Checklist

Visit the following websites for more information on perinatal anxiety and depression, and other emotional issues experienced by new and expectant parents go to:
• PANDA
• Gidget Foundation
• Beyond Blue

Where we offer these services

Blacktown 
36-38 First Avenue, Blacktown 
Hours: 8:00am-4:30pm Monday to Friday 

Springwood 
Balance Medical Centre 
16 Ferguson Road, Springwood 
Hours: 8:00am - 4:00pm Wednesday

Hawkesbury 
Hawkesbury District Health Service 
1 Day Street, Windsor 
Hours: 8:00am - 4:00pm Wednesday and Thursday

Mount Druitt
The Mount Druitt Hub,
Level 1, 9 Ayres Grove, Mount Druitt 
Hours: 08:30am - 4:30pm Tuesday and Wednesday 

Tel: 1800 292 292
Fax: 02 9672 1318
Email: nsw.raphael@sjog.org.au

 

Ballarat
Wexford Place, 105 Webster Street, Ballarat 
Tel: 1800 292 292
Fax: (03) 5331 8455
Email: Raphael.ballarat@sjog.org.au
Hours: 9:00am - 4:30pm Monday to Friday  

Bendigo
13 Helm Street, Kangaroo Flat
Tel: 1800 292 292
Fax: (03) 5447 1456
Email: Raphael.bendigo@sjog.org.au
Hours: 8:30am-5:00pm Monday to Friday

Berwick
57 Fairholme Boulevard
Berwick, Victoria, 3806
Tel: 1800 292 292
Fax: (03) 9707 0297
Email: Raphael.berwick@sjog.org.au
Hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm Monday to Friday

Geelong
Lower level, 265 Ryrie Street, Geelong
Tel: 1800 292 292
Fax: (03) 5221 9766
Email: Raphael.geelong@sjog.org.au
Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday to Friday

Torquay
Kurrambee Myraing Community Centre, 12 Merrijig Drive, Torquay
Tel: 1800 292 292
Fax: 03 52219766
Email: Raphael.geelong@sjog.org.au
Hours: 8:30am - 5:00pm Monday

Colac
Colac Maternal and Child Health Centre, 49 Queen Street, Colac
Tel: 1800 292 292
Fax: 03 52219766
Email: raphael.geelong@sjog.org.au 
Hours: 8:30am – 4:00pm every second Friday

 

Wembley 
192 Cambridge Street, Wembley
Hours: 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday

Fremantle 

Ferns House, 160 High Street, Fremantle
Hours: 8.30am to 4.30pm Thursday and Friday

Midland 

4 The Avenue, Midland
Hours: 8.30am to 4.30pm Wednesday and Thursday

Cockburn

14/11 Wentworth Parade, Success
Hours: 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Tel: 1800 292 292
Fax: 1800 696 526
Email: raphael.wa@sjog.org.au 

Mailing address:
192 Cambridge Street
Wembley WA 6014